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- FIRM Symposium 2023 -

26th - 29th September, Hotel Cap Roig, Spain

About FIRM 2023

FIRM prides itself on hosting internationally-renowned keynote and workshop speakers.

Join us to exchange knowledge with leaders from both disciplines, offering an exciting opportunity for networking with experts in a relaxed setting.

The location

After a brief hiatus, we are back at Hotel Cap Roig on the north-east coast of Spain.

view of the venue 2023

Photo Credit: Hotel Cap Roig

Keynote Speakers 2023


Dr Melanie Jimenez

University of Strathclyde

Dr Melanie Jimenez is a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow and Chancellor’s Fellow in biomedical engineering with recognised expertise in process engineering, developing microfluidic and sensory systems for medical and environmental sciences. Her work currently focuses on new fluidic-based systems for high throughput cell characterisation and sorting.


Melanie was a finalist for the title of UK Young Woman Engineer of the Year (2020) and became in 2021 an innovator officially recognised by the international society for advancement of cytometry for her contribution to the field .

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Dr Samuel Moxon

University of Birmingham

Dr Samuel Moxon completed a BSc in Medical Genetics and a PhD in Regenerative Medicine at the University of Huddersfield. During his PhD, Sam worked in the labs of Prof Alan Smith (Huddersfield) and Prof Liam Grover (University of Birmingham). Together, they developed a novel bioprinting strategy and published a seminal paper in Advanced materials in 2017 with Sam as the lead author.


In 2016 Sam moved to the University of Manchester where he spent 6 years developing research and publishing several papers in applications of tissue engineering and bioprinting strategies to studies of the brain, spine and skeletal system.


In 2023 Sam expanded his research to the University of Birmingham and, as part of that, was accepted onto the highly competitive Innovate UK ICURe programme to explore commercial avenues for his work. Sam was formally recognised as a future leader in the field in 2023, receiving the Tissue and Cell Engineering Society (TCES) Robert Brown Early Stage Investigator Award. Sam continues to work at the interface between biology and materials science with a strong focus on hydrogel systems for healthcare research.

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Professor James Phillips

University College London

James Phillips is Professor of Regenerative Medicine and Vice-Dean (Innovation & Enterprise) at University College London. His research focus is on translational neuroscience including construction of living artificial tissues for regenerative medicine, developing novel cell, drug, gene and biomaterial therapies for neural repair and protection, and construction of advanced 3D co-culture models. Applications include treating and modelling neurodegenerative diseases and traumatic injury to peripheral nerves, the spinal cord and the brain. His multi-disciplinary research group uses in silico, in vitro, in vivo and clinical approaches.


This seminar will focus on the development of Engineered Neural Tissue (EngNT), an aligned cellular collagen hydrogel for use as an Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product (ATMP) in nerve repair. The technology is currently undergoing commercial translation to clinical application, and ongoing academic projects are seeking to refine the cell and material components further and improve the design. Other projects that will be discussed include the development of electrospun synthetic materials as conduits and for local drug delivery in nerve repair and the use of biomaterials in cell therapy to treat CNS damage and neurodegenerative disease.

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Dr Zoe Hewitt

Co-Founder and CEO at Regenerative Cell Therapy Consulting, and UKRMP Project Manager - Pluripotent Stem Cells and Engineered Cell (PSEC) Hub

Dr Zoe Hewitt has a background in Pluripotent Stem Cells, which started with her PhD from the Roslin Institute/ University of Edinburgh. After completing her studies, Zoe worked with a team developing differentiation protocols for hepatocytes, before moving to the University of Sheffield in 2006, where she established and managed a clean room facility, which was responsible for deriving the UKs first clinically available human Embryonic Stem Cells.

Following the birth of her daughter in 2014, Zoe moved to become Project Manager for the UK Regenerative Medicine Platform (UKRMP) in 2015, firstly for the Pluripotent Stem Cell Platform (PSCP) and now for the Pluripotent Stem Cell and Engineered Cell (PSEC) Hub winning the UKRMP Special Merit Award in 2017. 


In September 2022 she co-founded Regenerative Cell Therapy Consulting, a spin out company, which aims to assist academic research to transition from laboratory research, through to translational development, and to provide support to help them implement strategic visions which will enable the bridging of the valley of death and secure translational or commercial funding.

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Professor Antony Metcalfe

University of Birmingham

Professor Anthony Metcalfe is Industrial Chair of Wound Healing in the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham and a Fellow of The Royal Society of Biology. Tony is a Biochemist (BSc) and Molecular Geneticist (PhD) and has also worked at The Universities of Lancaster, Manchester and Brighton as well as being Director of Research and Target Biology in industry (Renovo Ltd and F-star Therapeutics) and was Professor and Director of Research at the renowned Blond McIndoe Research Foundation.


Tony has interdisciplinary experience in innovative discovery, R&D, translational medicine and has regulatory, commercialisation and fund-raising expertise with a patient focussed outlook. Tony’s research has characterised wound healing and scar reduction, programmed cell death mechanisms in mammary gland biology & pre-implantation development, techniques for creating novel skin substitutes, delivery mechanisms for skin cells and stem cells, as well as engineering bispecific antibodies as a therapy for various cancers. Tony also helped raise funds and develop technologies at two spin-out companies investigating scar reduction technologies from proof-of-concept lab-based studies through to Phase I - III clinical trials. Tony is currently part of a team developing scar reduction strategies and therapies for skin and ocular applications at The Healthcare Technologies Institute in Birmingham.

Tony has published widely and is a member of the editorial boards of The Frontiers in Surgery: Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery and of Materials in Medicine: Journal of Materials Science.

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Dr Amy Turner-Duff

Indigo Medical

Amy Turner Duff is a senior medical writer at Indigo Medical, which is part of the SCIRIS group. Her work focuses on creating medical education materials for healthcare professionals and clients in the pharmaceutical industry for a variety of therapy areas, with a focus on oncology, neurology, and rare diseases. Prior to this Amy completed her PhD at the Open University; her thesis explored the effects of chronic psychostimulant treatment on the superior colliculus as a neural correlate of distractibility.

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